Full recording: Centre Radio (Dublin)

A flyer for Centre Radio courtesy of Eamonn Roe.

Centre Radio began as a hobby station on December 19th 1986 from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin and came on air during school holidays. Brian Greene of Pirate.ie was one of the original founders and the other half of this site John Walsh was also involved. By 1987 the station had developed into a youth project and was training up to 80 young people in radio. From February 1988 Centre was on air every evening and weekend from Bayside. It was one of the last stations in Dublin to closedown at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1988.

This recording is of an oldies show presented by Bobby Gibbson (aka Brian Greene) on 25.09.88. It includes community news and stations idents by Richard Taylor (aka John Walsh). Despite the claims in the idents, Centre broadcast in mono only, with the exception of its overnight stereo relay of the Radio Nova satellite service via the former Southside Radio FM TX in Dublin. You can read more about the history of Centre here.

Full recording: Centre Radio (Dublin)

Centre Radio logo courtesy of Brian Greene.

Centre Radio began as a hobby station on December 19th 1986 from Baldoyle in northeast Dublin and came on air during school holidays. Brian Greene of Pirate.ie was one of the original founders and the other half of this site John Walsh was also involved. By 1987 the station had developed into a youth project and was training up to 80 young people in radio. From February 1988 Centre was on air every evening and weekend from Bayside. It was one of the last stations in Dublin to close down at midnight on New Year’s Eve 1988.

This recording is from 94 FM a few days prior to closedown, 27.12.88, and features a youthful Stephen Davitt (aka Daragh O’Sullivan) on air. You can read more about the history of Centre here.

Jingles: North Dublin Community Radio

North Dublin Community Radio (NDCR) began broadcasting from Coolock in northeast Dublin in 1983 and was one of the leading community stations of the time, broadcasting on 1008 kHz AM and 100 FM. Many of those involved in NDCR went on to establish NEAR FM, the current licensed community station for northeast Dublin. Here’s a selection of NDCR jingles and promos from 1987 and 1988.

This station ident is from late 1988 when NDCR had dropped its AM service.
A jingle from 1988.
A station promo from 1988.

You can hear an interview with NDCR founder Jack Byrne here and with former presenter Declan Ralph here.

Aircheck: Radio Donnybrook

Three temporary community stations came on air in 1984 to celebrate local festivals in Dublin. Radio Sandymount, Radio Ringsend and Radio Donnybrook were all set up by Dave Reddy and broadcast on 981, 1116 or 1134 kHz. David Baker, who worked in a variety of Dublin stations in the 1980s, was also involved. In this recording from June or July 1984, David chats with Gerard Roe of Radio Annabel about the Dublin radio scene in 1984. Audio quality is poor as the recording is of a weak AM signal received in north Dublin on 981 kHz but recordings of these community stations are rare.

You can hear separate recordings of Radio Annabel here. There’s an interview with Dave Reddy of Radio Sandymount here and with David Baker here.

Interview: Jack Byrne – NDCR

North Dublin Community Radio (NDCR) broadcast from 1982 to 1988 from the north Dublin suburb of Coolock and had a strong community broadcasting ethos. It first aired as Concord Community Radio before changing its name to NDCR. It could be heard on 1008 kHz AM and on 100 FM, abandoning medium wave at a later stage in common with many other stations. In this interview with Wireless on Flirt FM from May 2017, NDCR founder Jack Byrne talks about the early years of the station, the philosophy of community radio and the establishment of NDCR’s licensed successor, NEAR FM. 

Promo: ‘Shout to the Top’ on Bray Local Broadcasting

Bray Local Broadcasting (BLB) was one of the leading community broadcasters of the 1980s and put out a strong signal on 657 kHz AM from Bray in Co. Wicklow. In this promo from 1987 which includes the voice of Minister for Communications Jim Mitchell, BLB extols the virtues of community radio in anticipation of the new licences. Although many of those involved in BLB were behind the licensed Horizon Radio in 1989, that station was to merge with another more commercially-focused broadcaster in Wicklow and community radio proper was not licensed until the mid 1990s. You can read more about Horizon Radio on the Wireless Flirt blog.

Interview: Brian Matthews of Community Radio Fingal

Community Radio Fingal broadcast from north Co. Dublin from 1982 to 1988 and was an example of one of the many community-focused pirates in Ireland. It began with a 300 watt transmitter in Skerries and later moved to the nearby village of Loughshinney where it operated a 1kW rig on 1575 kHz and also broadcast on FM. In this fascinating interview from 1988, station owner Brian Matthews talks about the history of CRF, its studio and transmitter facilities and provides some amusing anecdotes about presenters and listeners.

Aircheck: Radio Annabel FRC

Dublin station Radio Annabel featured a popular weekly Free Radio Campaign programme presented by Gerard Roe. This recording from 1985 features an interview with Chris Cary taken from Radio Nova in which he criticises the notion of community radio. It is followed by a reference to a newspaper article about one of the failed attempts to introduce legislation to regulate the radio sector during the 1980s.

Documentary: ‘Pirate in the West Gate’ – telling the story of CBC Radio in Tipperary

CBC Radio started broadcasting in the West Gate, Clonmel in November 1981 and continued until the enforced close down of all pirate stations on New Year’s Eve 1988.

Over 100 volunteers, along with a handful of part-time and full-time staff, contributed on the air, and the station was hugely popular among young and old in Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir and surrounding towns. 

Over the past three years, former staff member Jonathan Ryan has been researching the station’s history and listening to many audio tapes recorded during that time, along with interviewing former staff members to bring to life this audio history of life in the West Gate.  

With thanks to Jonathan Ryan for an advanced copy of the audio and for a amazing work of journalism in making this radio documentary. First broadcast on South Tipperary General Hospital Radio, December 27th 2018.

Interview: Rosemary Day discusses the transition from the pirate era to community radio

We are delighted to bring you some recordings from 2018 from Wireless Flirt (the radio show about radio in Ireland). In this interview from December 2016, John Walsh speaks with Dr. Rosemary Day, Head of the Department of Media and Communication Studies in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. The post-1988 licencing of radio and the community radio space are discussed.